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Director: Charlie Birns
Presented by: Charlie Birns
Starring: Julie Sokolowski, Dominic Fumusa, Kerry Condon, David Harbour
2018, USA, 78 Minutes, DCP
Potent gestures reign in this deceptively simple melodrama, about a surrogate mother’s precarious relationship with the parents-to-be and her growing ambivalence about her pregnancy. Julie Sokolowski (of MdFF 2014’s Young Bodies Heal Quickly) takes an attention-demanding turn as Genevieve, mustering a performance possibly unmatched by anything else in our lineup. Cemented by yet another showcase of stunning cinematography on the part of Sean Price Williams, Human Affairs is an arthouse delicacy for lovers of the sentimental.
By the open of the narrative, a secret romance has already sparked between Genevieve and the future adoptive father of her child, playwright Sidney (Dominic Fumusa). So when she heads to New York City to stay with him and his wife, a talented actress named Lucinda (Kerry Condon), the space is loaded with anticipation of an affair. As Genevieve gets to know the couple however, she discovers aspects of their personalities that both surprise and frustrate her, altering her perspective on the trio’s relationship and sending her into an existential crisis that floods the screen with emotion. What unfolds from there is a work of emphatic beauty, which blooms into a singularly rich display of complex interiority and deep romantic yearning.
The final minutes of the film alone, are worth the price of admission.
With his feature directorial debut, Charlie Birns has located the aesthetic bridge that unites classic French cinema’s old guarde with the New Wave; producing a film that has just as much in common with the visual control of Autant-Lara’s Marguerite de la nuit as it does with the delivery of Malle’s The Lovers. It’s a work of impressive tenderness and a work worth enjoying. (Mitchell Goodrich)
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